The cost of rushing

My good friend Benjamin Franklin always said “Time is Money.” His saying is often tossed around in the workplace but it can really add up at home as well.  Unless you are a contractor, doctor, lawyer, or someone who can literally bill out every waking hour, I’ll bet there is some free time you can eke out in your busy lives to make some significant savings towards financial independence.  Let’s look at my individual situation in order of least to greatest savings per year.

First let’s look at speeding on my daily commute and what we can save by slowing down on the highway.  Let’s make some assumptions:
– The speed limit on the 3 lane highway around these parts is 55mph, I drive 50mph over in the right lane, but those in the fast lane can be seen moving at 75mph when there is no traffic.
– My commute consists of 22.2mi of highway driving round trip.
– 2 weeks vacation a year. 7 paid holidays.
– This amounts to 243 working days and 5395 miles of commuting per year.
– Unleaded gas is $2.45/gallon in my town.
– We’ll assume if I’m the type to rush to work, I’m the type to rush home as well.

With that said, let’s look at two different vehicles for my commute.  A typical SUV, the Ford Explorer, and the 4 door hatchback Nissan Versa.  Using data from here we get….

2015 Ford Explorer:

2015 Nissan Versa:

By slowing down in the Explorer and Versa I could save $232 and $175 per year respectively, and this does not account for extra wear and tear on your vehicle like more frequent oil changes (modern cars calculate how many miles you drive at what RPM and also account for oil temperatures) and maintenance on the brakes from stopping from higher speeds:

Now let’s look at some costs before I get on the road each morning.  If I run to Starbucks for a grande caffè latte on the way to work @ $4.53/serving each morning, that’s 243 working days * $4.53 = $1100.79 per year on coffee each morning.  If I take a little bit of time to make my own coffee in the morning, I can buy 32oz of the same brand on Amazon for $24.91.  Calculating it takes ~1 oz of coffee grounds for 16 ounces of brewed coffee, that means I get more than a month’s worth of commuting coffee for <$25 or $0.78 per grande.  Over the course of a year that’s $189.54 for making my own coffee and saving of $911.25 per year.

We also can’t forget a pastime of mine, ironing my clothes before work.  Throw on a little NPR and let me hear the steam rising from that iron, and I have my zen moment each morning before I enter the hustle and bustle of the day.  A dry cleaner is nice enough to roam the halls of my company picking up and dropping off items as they drain me of my hard earned money for $1.25/shirt and $5.50/pair of pants.  If I dry clean a shirt after each time I wear it and send a pair of pants in every third wear, that’s $1964 for those 243 working days a year.  If I starch my clothes it is ~$5/can.  If I use a can per month, that’s $60 for the year of ironing.  So we’re talking a whopping  $1900+ in savings per year.

So let’s add up all these costs of rushing to get to and from work:
– Driving @ 75MPH in my Ford Explorer costs me $232/year.
– Grabbing Starbucks on the go costs me $911/year.
– Having my clothes dry cleaned costs me $1900/year.

Grand total would be $3043/year and this doesn’t even take into consideration the 6.35% in sales tax for my state.  With a back of a the napkin calculation, it takes about 10 extra minutes per working day or about 40 hours per year to accomplish these tasks.  $3043 in savings / 40 hours = an after tax hourly rate of $76 I pay myself.  Is that hourly wage worth getting up a few minutes early and taking your time to get to work?

6 thoughts on “The cost of rushing

  1. Agree on all fronts. As quoted, “Time is money”, and it’s a question of what ones time is worth. For most (and likely anyone reading this blog), the methods you’ve outlined are all applicable; the value of our time does not exceed the value of the savings. (There are some whose time is worth more than those savings, but again, that is very few).
    I do however have a different approach to the speeding scenario. Although I allow ample time to get to and from work or other destinations, I also prefer to drive fairly fast. I have a much further commute (~40 miles one way) so my goal is to maintain 30mpg or better for each tank. I successfully manage ~33mpg through a multitude of driving techniques, rather than simply focusing on driving slowly.

    1. I hear you Frank, you’re conscious of the cost and that’s what the purpose of this post is…to make people aware of $ that is out there for them if they just don’t rush so much!

  2. Good data!

    I went through phases doing work shirts at home, but probably did it 75% of my office career. FYI, make your own starch with powdered laundry starch. It is better than the can (meaning you can customize the mix), and way cheaper. Buy as a powder, mix with water, keep in a spray bottle.

  3. Can’t you do a cost comparison that is more apropos, say comparing a mini and a fit? Follow up blog suggestion would be to compare the cost of speeding tickets etc vs a relatively good driving record. Fees incurred and insurance… ouch!

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